Brendan Sailing Program for Youth with Learning Differences Presents Award Winners from 2019 Brendan
Updated: Apr 2
Annapolis, Md. (January 28, 2020) - The Brendan Sailing Program honored the accomplishments of three students and four volunteers who participated in the 2019 season at its awards program at the waterfront Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis. The Brendan student winners were: Nicholas Miller (15) of Crofton, MD; Milena Ashwood (15) of Lusby, MD; Jack Whelan (18) of Bethesda, MD. The volunteer winners were: Cecilia Duer of Lake County, Ohio; Major Luke Wright of Washington D.C.; Brian McNally of Washington, D.C.; Roberta Wilson of Baltimore, MD. The Brendan program is designed for “kids who learn differently,” according to its founder and Chairman James P. Muldoon. “For 35 years, Brendan has been teaching sailing to youth with varying learning styles,” Muldoon said. “And, we are so proud of all they have achieved both on the water and in their daily lives.” Registration for the 2020 summer season opens February 10. For more information, visit https://www.brendansailing.org.
CBF’s Director of Major Giving, David Tucker said, “We appreciate everything Brendan does, and it is a tremendous opportunity for CBF to support an organization that educates it participants in support of our mission to Save the Bay.”
The following are the award-winning camp participants from 2019 Annapolis, St. Mary’s, and DC programs:
Nicholas Miller, 15, of Crofton, MD., received the NoGutsNoGlory award. Board member Todd Lochner presented the award saying, “Initially shy, he grew from an uneasy beginner to a confident sailor, became the go to crew person on all the sailing excursions, and was considered by everyone to be a great team player.” The award is the longest standing Brendan award. Highlighting outstanding achievement and leadership, it is given to the Brendan sailor who contributed most to the success at the Annapolis program. The award receives its name from longtime Brendan supporters Jean and Howard Kluttz, and their sailboat NoGutsNoGlory.
Milena Ashwood 14, of Lusby, MD., received the Jerry and Kathryn Wood award. Her mother Jenn said, “She gained a lot of self confidence on the water and met some really great people while at the camp, and we are hoping that she can continue this summer and eventually become a counselor. The award is given for outstanding achievement for an entry level camper at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp. This award is named after the former owners of Annapolis Sailing School, who gave the Brendan Sailing Program a home free of charge. Current owner and Brendan board member Rick Nelson presented the award.
Jack Whelan, 14, of Bethesda, MD., received the Arthur Birney award. Arthur’s son, Lex presented the award, saying Jack was, “a crew member who had earned the respect of his fellow campers. He was a good friend and happy to help whenever asked.” The award is given for outstanding achievement at the advanced level at the St. Mary’s College of Maryland camp, and is named after Arthur Birney, the former owner of Port Annapolis where the program’s orientation and swim test are held.
The four adult award winners based on volunteerism and commitment were:
Cecilia Duer, of Lake County, Ohio., received the Molly Mahoney award. Brendan President Joanne Dorval presented the award saying “For over six years she has spent countless hours with Brendan campers as a volunteer at the St. Mary’s camp. She is an asset to the program, and we look forward to continuing our great work together.” Named after the former Chairman of St. Mary’s College, Molly Mahoney, the award honors the volunteer who contributed most to the success of the St. Mary’s session. Based out of Ohio, Ms. Duer is founder and operator of Spirit of America Premier Youth Boating Education.
Major Luke Wright, of Washington, DC., received the Valerie M. Hill award. Board member Rick Franke presented the award to Major Luke Wright, saying “He whole heartedly supported the Brendan Sailing Program, where his leadership and enthusiasm of his students helped everyone achieve success at our DC Sail afterschool session.” Major Wright, an instructor at the Colombia Heights Educational Campus, was instrumental in building the after-school program in DC. The Hill award is given to the volunteer who goes above and beyond to contribute the most to the Brendan Sailing Program.
Brian McNally, of Washington, DC., received the Joanne M. Dorval award. Board member Roberta Wilson stated McNally was selected, “for his above and beyond support of the Brendan after-school program. As the Executive Director of DC Sail, he enthusiastically opened his organization to Brendan so we could provide our program to the D.C. community.” Nominated and voted on by the Brendan Sailing Board of Directors, The Joanne M. Dorval award is given to the person whose efforts have been highly instrumental to the success of the Brendan Sailing Program
Roberta Wilson, of Baltimore, MD., received the Kurt Lowman Award. “This year the award is going to a shipmate, friend, and partner of Donnybrook, board member Linda Kessler said. “I know Kurt would be so proud, and we are so proud to give the award to Roberta Wilson for all of her tireless work, and time she has dedicated to Donnybrook and our organization.” This year was especially memorable as the award was given to Kurt Lowman’s widow, Roberta Wilson-Lowman. “Like my late husband Kurt, I believe in giving back to the kids and the community. It truly is special to receive this award and am glad Brendan continues to keep Kurt’s legacy and memory alive”, Wilson said. The award recognizes a like-minded Donnybrook (Jim Muldoon’s racing yacht) crew member who has volunteered their time to contribute to the development of Brendan sailors.
Since the program was conceived, more than 600 young people, ages 11 to 18, have been introduced to the sport of sailing and in the process have improved relationships, built self-esteem, and gained confidence and maturity.
“It has been a privilege working with Brendan for the last 23 years,” said Dorval. “To watch the participants, learn and grow through sailing has been an amazing experience. We are looking forward to continuing the positive impact we’ve had locally while offering these opportunities to students with learning differences in other communities through our partnership with the Spirit of America program.”
Thanks to donations and grant funding, Brendan Sailing does not turn away students for financial reasons. Scholarships information is available on their website: https://www.brendansailing.org
For more information about registration or other questions about the Brendan Sailing Program, contact Charlie Arms at 202-638-2788, or address inquiries to her at 1500 K Street, NW, Suite 350, Washington, D.C. 20005, or by e-mail at email@example.com